Sunday, January 31, 2010

oh, crafty weekend... how i love thee.

I adore craft projects. If I could make a living at playing "arts & crafts," I would definitely do so. However, with that being said, I am an accountant. That is what pays the bills. And unfortunately, due to a ridiculously long commute and the fact that Lance and I travel practically every other weekend, this leaves very little time for my long list of craft projects.

BUT... this weekend... oh this weekend was different. I declared this weekend a craft weekend long ago. As soon as I knew we would be in town, and as soon as I saw this on Ali Edwards blog, I knew exactly what I would be doing this weekend. It's absolutely genius.

She basically takes all of the Christmas cards and photos she receives for the year and creates a simple photo montage with all of them. I love it. I have always been one of those people that keeps cards (Christmas, birthday, thank yous, valentines... you name it, I keep it), but really they just sit in a box somewhere stored away. I am in love with this idea. At first, I was a little tentative about cutting and cropping my family and friends with a square paper punch... but I must say, it was kind of liberating. Nice to let my Type A personality live on the wild side a little. I just put the photo or card in my square punch, found my favorite part, and punched away. Here's the basic process...

I ordered this awesome square punch, the Marvy Uchida. I totally copied Ali again here, and purchased the same square punch she recommended on her blog. This punch was the perfect size, and for the most part allowed me to crop everyone inside the square. There were a few families who apparently don't like to stand very close to one another during Christmas photos... and for them, I'm sad to say I had to either separate them into two squares, or cut off some ears...

After punching out all the cards, I had to decide on some type of layout. I tried not to be too OCD about this, and really just tried to mix up the colors. You'll notice that I tried to select a good mix of both pictures and good old fashioned Christmas cards. I like the variation of it all.

Then I just used my favorite adhesive to paste the squares on some red 8x11 paper. I knew I would be using 8x11 sheets, so I let that determine how many squares would go on each page. I changed my layout ever-so-slightly (I guess the OCD did get the best of me) and called it finished. I ended up with 4 pages with 12 squares each.

Don't you just love it? I do. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all those other cards... Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

thankful thursday

I recently received an email from my Pop and he told me how he has started a journaling exercise where he thinks of three things everyday that he is thankful for. And while, yes, there is something to be thankful for everyday, I will try this journaling exercise out on a weekly basis... only because I'm not sure my bloging skills are disciplined enough yet.

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1) My Pop. This is my dad's dad. I am thankful that he introduced me to this little exercise. I was lucky enough to grow up living right next door to my Nana and Pop. They have always "spoiled me rotten" and have consistently played an influencial role in my life.

2) Working from home. My company typically allows me to work one day a week from home. For me, this is huge. I drive 130+ miles everyday to and from my office (65 miles one way). I spend approximately 2 1/2 hours in the car everyday. That's about 14 hours a week, 56 hours (or over 2 days) a month. That is insane. So you can imagine how much I appreciate getting some of those hours back. It makes me happy. I can actually do laundry. I eat cocoa krispies for breakfast. I listen to Pandora all day. I get 2 more full hours of sleep... beautiful.

3) Date night. My husband Lance is great at blocking out time just for us. We go to movies, out to dinner, shopping, to shows, etc. We have a date night scheduled this weekend. Just the two of us. It will probably be low-key, maybe dinner & a movie... but it will be some quality time together. After the holidays and my recent travels, I am really craving a date night.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

adventures in traveling...

I recently traveled to Germany for a short business trip. And, lucky me, I was able to squeeze in a couple of days for site seeing. I spent one day in Munich and another in Salzburg, Austria. Some things I observed during my travels...

Germans take more trains. They politely wait for every person to finish their meal before even considering leaving the table. A beer costs as much or less than a coke. They prefer gas and bubbles in their water. They have way more vacation time than we do, and sick days don’t count. They love traveling abroad. They almost always speak a little bit of English. They all drive stick shift cars... small ones. They carpool. They don’t have margarita salt. They are legally allowed to drink before they learn to drive. They are reserved. They don’t talk to you on planes. They frequently enjoy 3 hour dinners.

Americans don’t take trains. We are always in a hurry. A beer costs twice as much as a coke. We prefer still, filtered water. We have to use our vacation time for sick days. We rarely travel out of state, much less abroad. We hope and expect that everyone will speak English. We drive ridiculously large vehicles. We sit in traffic for hours with only one person in each car. We love margarita salt (at least I do). We can drive before we can drink. We are loud, but friendly. We will talk to you on an airplane. We often eat dinner in 30 minutes or less.

While traveling, it was interesting to observe the differences in culture and lifestyle. And while neither lifestyle is right or wrong, I feel like the more I travel, the more I gain an appreciation for the rest of the world.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

a blog-worthy lifestyle

I'm a closet blog-stalker. I have been for quite a while now. I have a long list of blogs that I filter through every morning. It's kind of like my morning coffee, if you will.

But recently, I've been wanting to document my own journey. You know... my life... my stories... my projects... my thoughts....

I would like to think that I live a blog-worthy lifestyle. The true test will be to see if anyone (besides my mom) actually ever reads any of this. My plan is to use this space as a diary. Not the kind of diary that you had when you were 12 years old (Lisa Frank with the little lock and key)... but more of a documented journal. I hope to blog about married life, my travels, favorite craft projects, life in corporate America, my dreams and ambitions, etc, etc...

Blog-worthy lifestyle... here I come.